Trigger finger is approximately 6 times more likely to occur in women.

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger is the name given to a condition where the tendon (which connects muscles to bones) in your finger or thumb gets caught when your finger is bent in towards your palm which results in a painful locking or clicking. Occasionally the tendon may pop free and you will be able to move your finger again but it could become stuck in a bent position permanently.

What causes trigger finger?

A lot of the time there is no obvious cause for trigger finger and it is more common in those who have injured their finger or thumb before for example De Quervain’s tenosynovitis and Dupuytren’s contracture. Other medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, renal failure and diabetes increase your chances of developing trigger finger.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

Trigger finger symptoms include:

  • Clicking or stiffness when moving the affected thumb or finger, especially first thing in the morning.
  • Pain at the bottom of the affected thumb or finger
  • A nodule at the base of the affected thumb or finger

Over time it may become difficult to straighten out the thumb or finger and it may stay permanently in a bent position.

How is trigger finger diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist can perform a thorough assessment subjectively and objectively of your hand to determine if you have trigger finger or something else.

You may be referred to a doctor if surgery is required and to monitor the progression of your trigger finger.

What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for trigger finger?

Medical treatment of trigger finger can be conservative or surgical and depending on how you manage your trigger finger different treatment may be required. Following an assessment by your physiotherapist, a treatment plan will be created based on their findings. Treatment options for trigger finger are wide ranging and the methods your physiotherapist chooses will depend on your symptoms.

Treatment for trigger finger can include:

  • Advice regarding rest/activity modification
  • Steroid advice
  • Splinting
  • Pain relief advice
  • Activity specific exercises
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Ultrasound
  • Passive range of movement exercises
  • Active-assisted and active range of movement exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Corticosteroid advice
  • Transverse friction massage
  • Massage and education around self-massage

Surgery may be required if conservative methods are not effective.

Benefit of physiotherapy for trigger finger?

Physiotherapy can help slow down the progression of trigger finger and is also very effective post-operatively. Our aim is to get you back to your best in the shortest space of time. The benefits you receive from physiotherapy will depend on your presenting symptoms and your treatment goals.

Physiotherapy can help to:

  • Reduce pain
  • Improve or restore range of movement
  • Decrease stiffness
  • Prevent progression
  • Return to functional activities

If you would like to book an assessment or enquire further regarding treatment for trigger finger, please call 01245 830280 or e-mail: